Re: Definition of Culture

Ronald Kephart (rkephart@OSPREY.UNF.EDU)
Sat, 17 Aug 1996 08:43:06 -0400

In message <> Ania
Lian writes:

> Learning by imitation: I think it is a very interesting point. Maybe we
> are splitting a hair, but myself I often wonder how the loop gets broken
> and how do we or animals get smarter? After all even the animals got smarter
> over the milions of years i.e. they must have either broken out of some
> loop somehow or? or I cannot think of another option. What would then
> adaptation involve?

For one thing, they "invent" new behaviors. Some chimp genius must have been
the first to discover termiting; others in the group (perhaps especially young
if the genius was a mother) watched, saw the results, and tried it out. While
this is somewhat conjecture, we know what happened in the case of potato washing
and also wheat floating amaong the Japanese macaques (I don't have the
references here at home, but I can repeat them for you later if you want). In
this case, the genius was a young female. The behavior spread and became what I
would call a proto-cultural tradition within this group.

Ronald Kephart
Department of Language & Literature
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL 32224